John Wayne passed away at the age of 72 in June of 1979 after a long battle with cancer. His son, Ethan, was only 17 when he lost his father.
In particular, he shared a story about how well prepared his father would try to be for movies. Wayne’s son, Ethan, was there for many movies his father made. He got to experience the legendary actor at work. Even though it was later in his career, he explained that his work ethic never wavered.
Ethan described his late father’s nightly routine. “He’d read his scripts until he fell asleep,” Ethan remembered fondly. “In between (takes), he always made time for me as a little boy to come in and get a hug or sit on his lap.”
He carried on with the explanation, talking about how his father tried to share everything with him. “He was very open that way. But he expected you not to walk through someone’s eye line or mess with the camera.”
John Wayne Spent a Lot of His Spare Time at a Ranch He Owned in Arizona
In his spare time, John Wayne not only made time for his children but also to be a real cowboy. He owned a working ranch in Maricopa, Arizona. On the ranch, he had thousands of head of cattle. But, the ranch also served another interesting purpose. He grew a ton of cotton on the land.
The legendary actor bought 4,000 acres for roughly 4 million dollars in the 1950s. Even though “The Duke” spent a lot of time on the ranch, he wasn’t going to be able to farm the cotton himself. But, he knew that there were a lot of opportunities to make money off the land.
So, he hired a local Arizona broker to grow cotton. John Wayne hired Louis Johnson, his neighbor, to maintain and harvest the cotton. This was an incredibly savvy move by “The Duke.”
Johnson knew how to turn cotton into money and John Wayne saw a lot of money come his way because of him. The contract that the two drew up seemed to be incredibly fair.
Alice, Louis Johnson’s wife, recalled that the two struck an interesting deal. John Wayne reportedly wanted four or more bales of cotton to come off each acre of his land. So, he made a deal with Johnson that if he did that, “The Duke” would buy him a new Cadillac.
Johnson produced just as the legendary actor wanted. So, John Wayne bought him a brand new Cadillac. Alice said that this happened for four years.